By Jake Donovan
The past year has watched boxing lose significant pieces of its rich history with the passing of several ring legends.
Hector Camacho was the most recent member of the boxing fraternity to receive an honorary 10-count. The former three-division champ was taken off life support on November 24, four days after being fatally shot in his native Puerto Rico.
The wounds still run deep worldwide. The boxing-rich island which he proudly represented is still reeling from the loss. Among them is Miguel Cotto, who was forced to hear the news while putting the finishing touches on training camp for his December 1 showdown with Austin Trout.
“I remember him as a great fighter. Personally, I only knew him when we met at social events,” Cotto states in reflecting on one of his heroes. “My childhood memories of him are as a great champion.”
There aren’t many similarities between the flamboyant Camacho and the normally reserved Cotto, though they are not polar opposites. Both have claimed championships in three weight classes and throughout their respective careers have enjoyed massive fan support in Puerto Rico and New York.
Madison Square Garden has also played a significant role in each of their respective careers. Cotto plays the venue for the eighth time this weekend, all in headlining capacity.
Camacho never enjoyed the same type of love affair with the Garden crowd as has Cotto, but the building’s location played a major role in his career. His pro debut came at the Felt Forum (now known as The Theatre), where he appeared 11 times as well as four fights in the main room.
Neither of them ever lost at that location. Cotto is 7-0 in the world’s most famous arena; Camacho went 15-0 between both floors. The closest he ever came to losing there was his 1986 war with Edwin Rosario, in which he escaped several dangerous moments to take a unanimous decision. Cotto’s closest call was his June ’09 split decision win over Joshua Clottey.
Outside the ring, the two are polar opposites. Cotto has had his share of controversy, but mostly within his family. Camacho’s wild life spanned several decades and seemed to follow him wherever he went. It began with his days running the streets of Spanish Harlem as a teen and sadly never ended until the tragic turn of events on November 20, 2012 in Puerto Rico.
Still, Cotto elects to not remember Camacho for the life choices that lead to that point, but for what his in-ring achievements meant to the demographic he proudly represented.
“He had a rough life and made the choices he made,” Cotto admits before reflecting on more pleasant times. “I prefer to remember him for his brilliant career and the glory he brought to Puerto Rico.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox